Underpass contractor fined $7,000 for illegally discharging liquid into canal and using undersized holding tank

View of the Pang Sua Canal, which drains into Kranji Reservoir.
View of the Pang Sua Canal, which drains into Kranji Reservoir. PHOTO: PUB

SINGAPORE - A contractor building the underpass for the Bukit Panjang MRT station has been made to pay $7,000 for illegally discharging liquid from its underground excavation works directly into a canal, as well as having an undersized holding tank.

M/s ED. Zublin AG Singapore Branch (Zublin) paid a composition sum of $2,000 for illegal discharge into the Pang Sua Diversion Canal, and was fined $5,000 for not providing an adequate holding tank for Earth Control Measures (ECM), according to a statement by National Water Agency PUB and the National Environment Agency (NEA) on Thursday (July 20).

Both agencies received feedback about white discharge in the canal on January 25 (2017). Investigations by PUB and NEA found that the liquid consisted of underground soil mixed with groundwater.

In a separate inspection by PUB, the holding tank in the construction site was also found to be too small .

Holding tanks are required for temporary storage of rainwater runoff before it is treated to remove the silt and discharged into public drains. An appropriately-sized and properly designed tank is important to ensure all silty rainwater runoff is contained within the construction site for treatment before it is discharged.

In response to queries from The Straits Times, a PUB spokesman said that as of July 20 this year, there were 19 cases where adequate Earth Control Measures were not implemented. There were 23 cases last year.

NEA also said that it has, since 2012, initiated 139 instances of legal action against offenders for illegal discharges onto land or into the waterways under the Environmental Protection and Management Act.

"With two-thirds of Singapore's land being water catchment, it is important that all construction sites comply with ECM requirements to prevent silty discharge from flowing into our waterways," said PUB and NEA.

They added that they will not hesitate to take strict enforcement action against offenders.

The public can help by calling PUB's 24-hour Call Centre at 1800-CALL-PUB (1800-2255-782) or NEA's 24-hour Call Centre at 1800-CALL NEA (1800-2255-632) if they see any pollution in drains and canals.